Action Bronson Is An Animal On The Boog
Watch what many are calling the best olive oil and bodyboarding video ever made.
“Snot Nose crew, homie Alonso, John Mangini from the East Coast—one of the best out there—his boy Billy, my man Richie, Ryan Mack, a bunch of heads, we’ve just been going out,” says Action Bronson.
It’s a surreal scene. I’m in the back of my van at 5am South Australian time, Action Bronson is at home in his NYC apartment. His shirtless likeness appears in a box on my laptop screen as he lists not fellow rappers, fallen inspirations, gang members or entourage, but the people he’s been bodyboarding with in the last year whilst stuck at home in New York.
“I started with my boy Armen, he was in Brooklyn with me,” Action continues. “He really got me set up with Pride (Bodyboards) and getting me the right board and wetsuits and fins and everything that I fucken needed, almost like a bodyboard father, you know. He set me up real nice.”
We’re used to seeing token shots of celebrities struggling to their feet at Malibu, but the east coast is far from the tepid, gentle peelers of First Point. And Bronson, real name Ariyan Arslani, is as east coast as it gets. The heavy, hollow waves and, well, the stature of the man, has led to Bronson tackling the chocolate cones on his guts. Now, he’s proper hooked.
Action Bronson grew up in Flushing, Queens, only twenty minutes from the beach, which he often visited as a child with his mother. So he was always aware of the waves close to his home, unlike most of the surfing world, who only started paying attention to the good surf that fairly regularly breaks less than an hour (traffic depending) from the Big Apple after the Quik Pro New York in 2011 (it was pumping, Owen Wright won 100 large etc.).
“The first thing I ever did was get a Morey boogieboard from the gift shop and just start shredding,” Action tells me. “I didn’t know you could go sideways, I just went straight and had fun, got demolished, it was amazing. I would have been around eight, nine years old.”
Action’s recent surf phase has coincided with him changing his lifestyle, a shift that’s seen him shed 140 pounds—63kgs for those of us out of the metric loop—which is nothing short of a herculean effort. One that Bronson describes as, “Just the beginning.” But surfing, the act of riding waves, is at the heart of this transformation. It’s the part that’s pure fun, and Action says getting himself in better shape to boogie is central to his extensive workout regime.
“100%, making myself more flexible, giving myself more power in the hips and thrust and shit like that,” Action says. “Make sure my shoulders are good so I can frame right and all that shit. It’s hard on the shoulders, they’re always right there taking the brunt of all the pressure, so I’ve got to make sure my shoulder health is right.”
Action Bronson’s existence is typically an endless blur of travel for any of the numerous strings to his bow, but the last year has seen him home for the first time in a decade, which has given him more time to drag. And Action’s not been missing a swell. His most memorable session is toss up between his step-offs on Long Island with Balaram Stack and Will Skudin, and a fin-propelled effort at one of the east coast’s premier sponging spots.
“I did some step-offs with my boy Will Skudin in Long beach in a nor’easter and that was pretty epic,” Action tells me. “I didn’t have any fins on, I was just more stoked that I was in there. I didn’t perform or do anything cool, I just lived it. But recently we went out to Jenks in Jersey, which is known as one of the best bodyboarding waves on the east coast. It’s probably the premier wave, and I got fucking spiked, straight down on the shorebreak. I’m glad I didn’t break my fucken neck. But it was a great day otherwise, 70 degrees outside, perfect little tubes going on.”
This bodyboarding thing is clearly more than a phase for Action, and it’ll be cool to follow his surf journey when normalcy returns and he’s able to combine his newfound surf love with his existing affairs with music, food and travel. He assures me that the possibilities are endless, something that you can feel he really believes, and has played no small part in his remarkable, totally left of centre career up until this point.
“I look at Mike Stewart you know, and that dude is ageless. He’s fucken out of his mind incredible, and a lot of the dudes that I look up to in bodyboarding now are all young, much younger than me,” Actions says. “But I look at it, and my physical attributes… I’m an animal, I’m a fucken animal, I feel like I could do anything.”
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